Ezekiel 34:4
The diseased have you not strengthened, neither have you healed that which was sick, neither have you bound up that which was broken, neither have you brought again that which was driven away, neither have you sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have you ruled them.
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34:1-6 The people became as sheep without a shepherd, were given up as a prey to their enemies, and the land was utterly desolated. No rank or office can exempt from the reproofs of God's word, men who neglect their duty, and abuse the trust reposed in them.Shepherds - Not priests or prophets, but rulers and kings (see the Jeremiah 2:8 note). The most ancient title for "ruler" is a monogram which occurs on the oldest monuments discovered in the cuneiform character. In the Assyrian language it became riu (compare Hebrew רעה râ‛âh equals shepherd). In the traditions of Berosus we find that Alorus, the first king in the world, received from the Divinity the title of Shepherd. The title, as well as the monogram, was preserved to the latest times of the Assyrian monarchy. While the distress and misery of the people daily in creased, the last kings of Judah exacted more and more from their subjects and lavished more and more on personal luxury and show. 4. The diseased—rather, those weak from the effects of "disease," as "strengthened" (that is, with due nourishment) requires [Grotius].

broken—that is, fractures from wounds inflicted by the wolf.

brought again … driven away—(Ex 23:4). Those "driven away" by the enemy into foreign lands through God's judgments are meant (Jer 23:3). A spiritual reformation of the state by the rulers would have turned away God's wrath, and "brought again" the exiles. The rulers are censured as chiefly guilty (though the people, too, were guilty), because they, who ought to have been foremost in checking the evil, promoted it.

neither … sought … lost—Contrast the Good Shepherd's love (Lu 15:4).

with force … ruled—(Ex 1:13, 14). With an Egyptian bondage. The very thing forbidden by the law they did (Le 25:43; compare 1Pe 5:3).

The weak and languishing, ( such there are in the church and state,) with your hand, countenance, and counsel; so these metaphorical shepherds should as the other strengthen their sheep, with carrying them into good and quiet pastures. The sheep in our pastures are subject to many sicknesses, the sheep in church and state to more, and shepherds in both should be as physicians to heal them; but here these did not so. Sometimes violent and ravenous beasts break their bones, sometimes the stronger and fatter sheep bruise or break them, these should the shepherds bind up; violent oppressors in the state and in the church broke many of them, but these shepherds bound them not up. Sheep are often driven out of the pasture, frighted, hunted, and pursued by dogs, or other mischievous creatures; these the shepherd should find out, and bring back: in church and state there were many such, frighted and driven by fierce men like dogs running upon them, but the Jewish rulers took no care to inquire for them, or to bring them back to their own. country. Sheep wander and lose themselves, shepherds should seek such and bring them home; many political sheep among the Jews wandered from their country, their king, religion, and God, and these careless rulers never sought them, but ruled them with hard hand, that held fast all that should look like royal power and privilege, and rigorously executed all their grievous laws and edicts. With cruelty, such as the Egyptians used toward the Jews, Exodus 1:13,14; instead of acting like shepherds, these tyrants in the Jewish polity acted like merciless butchers in church and state. The diseased have ye not strengthened,.... Such, in the civil polity, who were poor, and in necessitous circumstances, were not relieved; such who were injured and oppressed by others were not vindicated; and such as were forced to flee to other countries, or were carried captive, no care was taken, or methods used, to ransom them, and, bring them back; all which may be meant by this and the following metaphors, taken from the evil things that befall a flock of sheep: and such who were weak through spiritual diseases, their prophets and teachers took no care to cure them of their diseases, and to strengthen these feeble minded ones with divine cordials and spiritual food, and confirm them in the faith:

neither have ye healed that which was sick; by directing them to the great Physician of souls, and to his precious blood for healing and pardon of sin:

neither have ye bound up that which was broken; whose consciences were wounded, and hearts broken, with a sense of sin; or who had fallen to the breaking of their bones, and should be restored in a spirit of meekness and dealt gently with, as surgeons do in setting and binding up broken bones:

neither have ye brought again that which was driven away; or, "was gone astray" (r); being seduced by false teachers; and yet, though it was known they were, no care nor pains were taken to reclaim and restore them:

neither have ye sought that which was lost; that wandered of their own accord, and perished for want of knowledge, and were lost for lack of a guide to direct them, and no one would do this good office to them:

but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them; in an arbitrary and tyrannical way, lording it over God, s heritage, 1 Peter 5:3.

(r) "vagam aut errantem", Bochartus, and some in Vatablus.

The {c} diseased ye have not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.

(c) He describes the office and duty of a good pastor who ought to love and comfort his flock and not be cruel toward them.

4. Five classes are here mentioned, in Ezekiel 34:16 only four, the “diseased” being wanting, and “strengthen” used here of the diseased is said there of the sick. The “broken” is the hurt or bruised; the “lost” that which has wandered away of itself, in distinction from that “driven away” by violence.Verse 4. - The diseased have ye not strengthened. The verbs indicate the difference between the "diseased," i.e. the weak sheep (comp. Isaiah 40:11; Psalm 78:71) and the sick, that were suffering from more definite maladies. So the broken are the sheep that have fallen from a rock and thus maimed themselves. Each case required its appropriate treatment, and none had met with it. Calling of the Prophet for the Future - Ezekiel 33:1-20

The prophet's office of watchman. Ezekiel 33:1. And the word of Jehovah came to me, saying, Ezekiel 33:2. Son of man, speak to the sons of thy people, and say to them, When I bring the sword upon a land, and the people of the land take a man from their company and set him for a watchman, Ezekiel 33:3. And he seeth the sword come upon the land, and bloweth the trumpet, and warneth the people; Ezekiel 33:4. If, then, one should hear the blast of the trumpet and not take warning, so that the sword should come and take him away, his blood would come upon his own head. Ezekiel 33:5. He heard the blast of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood will come upon him: whereas, if he had taken warning, he would have delivered his soul. Ezekiel 33:6. But if the watchman seeth the sword come, and bloweth not the trumpet, and the people is not warned; and the sword should come and take away a soul from them, he is taken away through his guilt; but his blood will I demand from the watchman's hand. Ezekiel 33:7. Thou, then, son of man, I have set thee for the watchman to the house of Israel; thou shalt hear the word from my mouth, and warn them for me. Ezekiel 33:8. If I say to the sinner, Sinner, thou wilt die the death; and thou speakest not to warn the sinner from his way, he, the sinner, will die for his iniquity, and his blood I will demand from thy hand. Ezekiel 33:9. But if thou hast warned the sinner from his way, to turn from it, and he does not turn from his way, he will die for his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. - Ezekiel 33:7-9, with the exception of slight deviations which have little influence upon the sense, are repeated verbatim from Ezekiel 3:17-19. The repetition of the duty binding upon the prophet, and of the responsibility connected therewith, is introduced, however, in Ezekiel 33:2-6, by an example taken from life, and made so plain that every one who heard the words must see that Ezekiel was obliged to call the attention of the people to the judgment awaiting them, and to warn them of the threatening danger, and that this obligation rested upon him still. In this respect the expansion, which is wanting in Ezekiel 3, serves to connect the following prophecies of Ezekiel with the threats of judgment contained in the first part. The meaning of it is the following: As it is the duty of the appointed watchman of a land to announce to the people the approach of the enemy, and if he fail to do this he is deserving of death; so Ezekiel also, as the watchman of Israel appointed by God, not only is bound to warn the people of the approaching judgment, in order to fulfil his duty, but has already warned them of it, so that whoever has not taken warning has been overtaken by the sword because of his sin. As, then, Ezekiel has only discharged his duty and obligation by so doing, so has he the same duty still further to perform. - In Ezekiel 33:2 ארץ is placed at the head in an absolute form; and 'כּי אביא וגו, "if I bring the sword upon a land," is to be understood with this restriction: "so that the enemy is on the way and an attack may be expected" (Hitzig). מקציהם, from the end of the people of the land, i.e., one taken from the whole body of the people, as in Genesis 47:2 (see the comm. on Genesis 19:4). Blowing the trumpet is a signal of alarm on the approach of an enemy (compare Amos 3:6; Jeremiah 4:5). נזהר in Ezekiel 33:5 is a participle; on the other hand, both before and afterwards it is a perfect, pointed with Kametz on account of the tone. For Ezekiel 33:7-9, see the exposition of Ezekiel 3:17-19.

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